2/15/16

2/15/16

Roots of Tipping in the US Service Industry

Did you know that most wait staff employees make a very small base wage? That your tipping is their actual pay? This whack abusive system has some horrible roots, slavery.

So, this is not correct. Tipping is required!
So, this is not correct. Tipping is required!

Saru Jayaraman, co-founder and co-director of the Restaurant Opportunities Center United (ROC United) and director of the Food Labor Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley has discovered that,

The original workers that were not paid anything by their employers were newly freed slaves,” she tells Quartz. “This whole concept of not paying them anything and letting them live on tips carried over from slavery.

According to an article in Quartz magazine, “How American Tipping Grew Out of Racism,” the national minimum wage for restaurant workers (which is lower to take tips into account) hasn’t budged since it was set 20 years ago at $2.13 an hour.


Myths About Anarchism: government is chaos, anarchy is order

Great article on Infoshop about the Myths about Anarchism. In summary, general myths are:

  • anarchism equals chaos
  • anarchism is against organisation
  • anarchism is a fusion of liberalism and socialism
  • anarchism is individualism
  • anarchism is just anti-state
  • anarchism is utopian

quote-anarchists-know-that-a-long-period-of-education-must-precede-any-great-fundamental-change-lucy-parsons-71-71-13


Queers Supporting Palestine

Photo: Sarah Ji
Photo: Sarah Ji

I am proud that I was part of the action protesting the “A Wider Bridge” reception at Creating Change last month. The decision to participate was not difficult. Organizers made sure that it did not conflict with religious services and that we were protesting a reception designed to get more people to come to Israel. “A Wider Bridge is the pro-Israel organization that builds bridges between Israelis and LGBTQ North Americans and allies.” (AWB Website)

People need water, food, healthcare... not rainbows and Pinkwashing!
People need water, food, healthcare… not rainbows and Pinkwashing!

To be clear, I am against all states. I am especially against states that trap people in impossible living situations without water or electricity. In the US where people are living without drinkable water, like in Flint and Hoosick Falls, I call for FREEDOM; and in Palestine, where people live without access to daily needs such as healthcare, water, and electricity, I call for FREEDOM.

Wendy Elisheva Somerson, from Jewish Voice For Peace, reminds us in her piece in Truth-Out,

A little bit of queer history is in order. In the 1960s and 1970s in the United States, gay liberation movements grew out of other liberation struggles and were deeply intertwined with feminist and anti-racist movements. Queer movements challenged capitalism, racism and state power because gay lives were oppositional to mainstream society. However, over time, as some LGBTQ folks gained acceptance and gay activism became institutionalized, many LGBTQ organizations narrowed their focus to gaining inclusion into state institutions such as marriage and the military.

As a queer person, I am against capitalism, I support black lives, and I believe that supporting the freedom for the Palestinian people, and the freedom for all people, is part of our struggle.

Using LGBTQ people to make an apartheid state look “progressive” is not ok with me. I believe the same thing about the US. When I went to Uganda the people I met talked to me about how safe the US is for LGBTQ people. However, if you look at statistics, it seems like more trans women and LGBTQ people are assaulted killed in NYC then in Uganda. There is more social support in the US for sure, but safety?

Somerson goes on to say, “But many of us who share an intersectional analysis of power and oppression see LGBTQ identities as inextricably intertwined with race, gender, class, ethnicity and nationality. We want a movement that addresses all of our needs without leaving the most vulnerable queers behind. And no surprise: We are the very same people protesting Israel’s use of LGBTQ rights to cover up and justify Israeli apartheid.”

It is past time for us to stand up for freedom everywhere!


Teletubbies set to Joy Division


I'm reading Claudia JonesWhat I’m Reading

Black Radical Women in the U.S. 1910-1960 – A Study & Discussion Circle

This is a great list of things to read. I’m chugging away at this list personally!


*justin does advocacy work on his own time and these are his words and beliefs not those of his employer(s). 

 

2/7/16

2/7/16

SandraBlandToday is Sandra Bland’s birthday. She would have been 29 years old today. Sandra Bland died in a jail in Waller County, Texas July 13, 2015.

Roxane Gay described what happened to Sandra Bland in the New York Times saying,

During the ill-fated traffic stop, most of which was caught on camera, Mr. Encinia asked Ms. Bland why she was irritated and she told him. She answered the question she was asked. Her voice was steady, confident. Mr. Encinia didn’t like her tone, as if she should be joyful about a traffic stop. He told Ms. Bland to put her cigarette out and she refused. The situation escalated. Mr. Encinia threatened to light her up with his Taser. Ms. Bland was forced to leave her car. She continued to protest. She was placed in handcuffs. She was treated horribly. She was treated as less than human. She protested her treatment. She knew and stated her rights but it did not matter. Her black life and her black body did not matter.

Because Sandra Bland was driving while black, because she was not subservient in the manner this trooper preferred, a routine traffic stop became a death sentence.


Water

thefreethoughtproject.com
thefreethoughtproject.com

Last week I brought up the water contamination in Flint and Hoosick Falls. This week I want to bring up an issue I learned about from Justin Gardner in The Free Thought Project piece titled, “Navajo Water Supply is More Horrific than Flint, But No One Cares Because they’re Native American

Since the 1950s, their water has been poisoned by uranium mining to fuel the nuclear industry and the making of atomic bombs for the U.S. military. Coal mining and coal-fired power plants have added to the mix. The latest assault on Navajo water was carried out by the massive toxic spills into the Animas and San Juan rivers when the EPA recklessly attempted to address the abandoned Gold King mine.

[…]

Politicians continue to take advantage of Native Americans, making deals with mining companies that would continue polluting their water supplies. Senator John McCain sneaked a resolution into the last defense bill which gave land to Resolution Copper. Their planned copper mining would poison waters that Apaches rely on and would desecrate the ceremonial grounds at Oak Flat.

While EPA and local officials have been forced to address the poisoned water in Flint, the contamination of Indian country water supplies continues. A bill called the Uranium Exploration and Mining Accountability Act, introduced by Arizona Congressman Raúl Grijalva, has languished in Congress for two years.


Music Sustains

Thanks to Mask Magazine I learned about Keith LaMar (aka Bomani Shakur) and the music that sustains him.

Late last year, Ohio death row inmate and prison rebel Keith LaMar (aka Bomani Shakur) went on a long hunger strike to prevent the prison administration from taking away his music, among other “privileges.” So when Keith and his fellow hunger striker Jason Rob won after eight days, they not only forced the warden to move them to a better pod and grant them access to email, they defended their ability to keep books and music in their cells.

Here is Keith LaMar’s playlist!

You can write Keith here:
Keith LaMar — 317-117
878 Coitsville-Hubbard Road
Youngstown, OH, 44505


Zapatista Women

Visual Research / Flickr / Creative Commons
Visual Research / Flickr / Creative Commons

Hilary Klein has a new book out, Compañeras: Zapatista Women’s Stories is the first English-language study of the role of indigenous women in the Zapatistas. I am excited to read this book!

In These Times had a great interview with Hilary Klein in which she said,

As far as Hillary Clinton’s run for president, I think the main lesson there is that Zapatista women provide an example of what women’s leadership can look like without emulating traditional masculine leadership or the exploitative power dynamics inherent in capitalism.

“A guiding light for a new generation of feminists and others who would challenge patriarchy, poverty, gender oppression, racism, and all the other inhumanities maintained by global capitalism.”—Elaine Brown, Black Panther Party leader and author of A Taste of Power and The Condemnation of Little B.

1/31/16

1/31/16

So maybe I should rename this blog “14 days till Sunday.” LMAO

There is so much going on in the world. I hope that this little blog will bring information and hope for your week(s).

Everyone entitled to safe, pure water

Yesterday Erin Brockovich came to Hoosick Falls to find out more about the PFOA contamination of the water. After touring Hoosick Falls, Erin with a legal team, held a town meeting at Bennington College for the residents of Hoosick Falls.

I attended the town meeting for 2 reasons.

justin and Erin Brockovich
justin and Erin Brockovich

1. My friend Comrade Malik lives at Coffield Unit in Tennessee Colony, TX. Coffield is part of the Texas Department of (in)Justice System. Before Coffield Malik lived at Wallace Pack. While at Wallace Pack Malik documented and reported water contamination issues. The state transferred him to Coffield where there have been threats against his life. In spite of the threats Malik has continued to report injustice there as well. There is documented arsenic in the water at Coffield. Malik has been asking to get information about the contamination to Erin Brockovich. While I and others have been emailing Erin’s organization, I felt it was a good idea to get this information into Erin’s hands.

Erin was very kind and took time with me listening about the issues in the Texas prisons. She agreed to take this picture with me for Malik. She is not sure what can be done, especially cause it is a state, not private, prison.

2. Hoosick Falls is a town about 30 minutes north of me. Last week Times Union reported that, “Trying to address a potential public health concern as well as widespread anxiety in a Rensselaer County community, Gov.Andrew Cuomo’s administration on Wednesday said the Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics plant in the village of Hoosick Falls will be declared a state Superfund site.” Part of the goal of the meeting was that the tort firm Weitz & Luxenberg iss been looking for potential litigants.

Hearing the things the residents are dealing with and the fears that they have about the quality of their water was disturbing. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has warned residents not to drink or cook with water from municipal wells. It appears that there is no discussion about all of the folks on private wells. And most disturbing was to hear that there are many people who do not know that the water is an issue. People talked about renters who have not been notified by their landlords and elderly folks who are shut ins without information.

The heartinging bit of the day was to hear people talk about their rights and to talk about community led direct action. There was discussion about everyone ceasing to pay their water bills and other actionable ideas. Erin said, “Every community I’ve been in, when I see them get together, that’s when things begin to change.”


Black Feminism & the Movement for Black Lives: Barbara Smith, Reina Gossett, Charlene Carruthers

The most inspiring thing in January for me was to hear some of the most amazing women speak about what black feminism means to them at the Creating Change conference in Chicago. BE INSPIRED – DO SOMETHING!


Baby Otter


How will you support Indigenous Peoples in 2016?

Wanting to know what to do?  put together a great little list for IC Magazine. Read the article, below is just the list.

  • Know Your History
  • Confront Racism
  • Start Going to Protests
  • Donate often and donate responsibly
  • Public Service

Map of Land Stolen from Native American People

University of Georgia historian Claudio Saunt put together an interactive map to accompany his new book West of the Revolution: An Uncommon History of 1776. The map offers a time-lapse vision of the transfer of Indian land between 1776 and 1887. As blue “Indian homelands” disappear, small red areas appear, indicating the establishment of reservations. Visit the map’s page to see more.

Interactive Map
Interactive Map

Vagueness benefited the government’s purposes in crafting treaties and executive orders. “Greater legality and more precision,” Saunt argues, “would have made it impossible to seize so much land in so short a time.”

Slate

 

1/17/16

1/17/16

I’ve been thinking a lot about who I want to be this year. This week I hope you are inspired to action, feline self care and I wrap up this week with a helpful reminder!

#woke?

Social media can do a lot. But, check yourself. You can type #woke, or encourage others to #staywoke but ya gotta do more. Put your actions where your twitter is. Or, as Shane said, “Let’s strive to align who we are in real life with the person we created on our Twitter and Facebook accounts.”

Great article by Shane B on Blavity

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU’RE “WOKE” ON SOCIAL MEDIA, BUT SLEEP IN REAL LIFE?

It is very easy to type #StayWoke or #Feminist in our Twitter bios. But what does in mean when we say “Protect Black Women” on Twitter and then turn around and defend Bill Cosby at the dinner table?

Being woke is defined by the poet Raven Cras, as the “cultural push to challenge problematic norms, systemic injustices and the overall status quo through complete awareness.” It is the act of constantly deprogramming ourselves, checking our own egos and privileges, and always seeking more knowledge and information to refine our beliefs.


Just Me and Allah: A Queer Muslim Photo Project

Leila “My hijab is political, my hijab is resistance. I am covered in tattoos so when people see me with a hijab, they’re always shocked. Some non-Muslims like to tell me that I shouldn’t have tattoos or dress this way. I just want to say , ‘It’s between me and Allah!’ ” Photo by: Samra Habib
Leila
“My hijab is political, my hijab is resistance. I am covered in tattoos so when people see me with a hijab, they’re always shocked. Some non-Muslims like to tell me that I shouldn’t have tattoos or dress this way. I just want to say , ‘It’s between me and Allah!’ ” Photo by: Samra Habib

From The Advocate

The work of Toronto photographer Samra Habib focuses on images and interviews with queer Muslims. “Mainstream Islam isn’t always welcoming of LGBTQ Muslims, yet a lot of the Muslim traditions and rituals bring queer Muslims comfort and provide a sense of belonging,” Habib says. “I wanted to show everyone the creative and brilliant LGBTQ Muslims I identified with the most and would hang out with at art shows, queer dance parties, and Jumu’ah prayer. So I picked up my camera and decided to photograph what I was witnessing. In the words of the brilliant Dali (who I shot for this project), ‘we have always been here, it’s just that the world wasn’t ready for us yet.’ QueerMuslimProject.tumblr.com


Chickens be like…

anarchist chicken


Selfie Cat

Watch out Ellen, Manny the cat brought me so much cheer this week!

Manny is a great photographer. Click here to see more of his work.
Manny is a great photographer. Click here to see more of his work.

A New Year’s Resolution: Don’t Call the Police

catcops
Please don’t let the cat out or the cops in.

This piece from TruthOut came out last year. It is a good reminder to not call the police. I watched episode 48 of Potrtlandia this week and I thought about this as I watched the Women & Women First feminist bookstore install an alarm. What kind of fucking feminism keeps out animal rights activists. (awesome link to Teach for America in that episode as well, lol) #policestate

This resolution is more than a boycott or a political protest. It’s the beginning of a thought process and a dialogue, both internal and external, that challenges us to build new relationships with our friends, family and neighbors. It’s a spark in the imagination that leads us to dream about a free world.

I also wrote a 2 part piece about calling the police on HuffPo last year.

1/3/16

Welcome to the new year. Of course many cultures celebrate the new year at other times.  Katherine Kelaidis asked “Why January 1” on Salon.com this week. Obviously the answer is simple…colonialism.

It has finally snowed here in New England! But I’m already looking ahead. I know, “Be in the present justin.”

Ready for Spring:

How-To-Build-Your-Own-Greenhouse-For-50My Johnny’s Seed Catalogue came this week so I have begun thinking about this year’s microfarm design.

The seeds also got me looking at hoop house designs like this “$50″ one. As you read you discover that $50 is based on tons of freecycling. However, you can do this for under $200. This is a goal of mine this year!


Challenge and Inspiration:

Photograph: Elizabeth Weinberg/Eyevine
Photograph: Elizabeth Weinberg/Eyevine

The Guardian’s Kate Kellaway had a great interview with the amazing Claudia Rankine.

A couple highlights:

What the book does most powerfully is to make it clear that racism is everyone’s problem.
Racism is complicated. White people feel personally responsible for racism when they should understand the problem as systemic. It is interfering as much with their lives as with the lives of people of colour. And racism can lodge in them. It isn’t them yet it can become them if they are not taking notice.

Why is it so hard to call out racism?
Because making other people uncomfortable is thought worse than racism. It has taken me a while to train myself to speak out.


Unwind:

One of the ways I unwind is to fish. I am super excited about this film from the great folks at Hooké which is part of The International Fly Fishing Film Festival. You can also watch other trailers on their Vimeo Channel 


Book I wanna read:

9781632860811_custom-4481384b467ad2aac9f6a74e50dffa0df9626018-s700-c85Before and after screening Suffragette this fall all I and everyone around me seemed to be talking about was how white the film was, like not even a single person a darker shade than snow.

This week I read about a new book by Anita Anand Sophia: Princess, Suffragette, Revolutionary.

Read more about it on NPR

“Suddenly there was this sort of tidal wave of outrage from people who were saying, why wasn’t she in the movie?” says Anand. “So my first response was, why are you so angry? You hadn’t heard about her until fairly recently.”

Anand herself knew nothing about Sophia until she saw an interesting face in an old magazine photo. “It was black and white, but something about it just told me that this woman was as brown as I was,” she says. “She had the same sort of features as one of my aunties, and I just thought, you know, I’ve been a political journalist for 20 years; how is it that I don’t know about an Indian suffragette?”

 

 

1/27/15

1/27/15

One thing that my mother and I do on our vacations is watch movies together. I am visiting my folks and so we have been seeing a lot of good films. This year has a good line up. My short summary of each below!

  • Spotlight (Religion covers abuse)
  • Concussion (Football is a nearly untouchable industry)
  • The Big Short (Bankers and the governement fucked everyone, they carry on)
  • Joy (Women can be capitalists)
  • Trumbo (Don’t agree with the government and you might be blacklisted)

Today we will go see Room


Mutual Aid (Christmas Kropotkin style)

kropotkin2-1024x887Huge thanks to Ruth Kinna for giving us, “An Anarchist Guide to… Christmas” this year.

On the night before Christmas, we’ll all be about
While the people are sleeping, we’ll realise our clout
We’ll expropriate goods from the stores, ‘cos that’s fair
And distribute them widely, to those who need care.

Ruth Kinna is a professor of Political Theory at Loughborough University, where she specialises in political philosophy. Since 2007 she has been the editor of the journal Anarchist Studies. She is the author of Anarchism – A Beginners Guide and also Kropotkin: Reviewing the Classical Anarchist Tradition.


Book I want to read

Robin D.G. Kelley, author of  Hammer and Hoe: Alabama Communists During the Great Depression was interviewed by The Nation in August. The interview, well worth the read, ties the Alabama Communists to the Occupy and Black Lives Matter movements.

How have I missed this book? (There is an excerpt on Jacobin)

A sharecropping family in Alabama (1939). Flat World Education
A sharecropping family in Alabama (1939). Flat World Education

From the interview, What a Band of 20th-Century Alabama Communists Can Teach Black Lives Matter and the Offspring of Occupy:

One is anti-capitalism and its roots in the Occupy movement and elsewhere, the other is what has now been identified as Black Lives Matter, the struggle against police violence and the carceral state. It just so happens that the Communist party in Alabama focused on these two things directly. And for them these were inseparable. […]

One of the biggest myths that is still perpetuated today is that somehow the only natural and legitimate forms of black politics have to embrace nonviolence. No other political agenda or movement has to do the same.

Nonviolence as a political strategy was pretty common among progressive forces in the postwar period, for good reason. However, if you take the history of black freedom struggles, self-defense has been the first principle. It had to be—during Reconstruction something like 58,000 black people were killed. Akinyele Omowale Umoja has this great book called We Will Shoot Back where he proves that in every county in Mississippi where you had organized armed self-defense they had less violence, fewer killings.

Now there’s a difference between armed self-defense and violence as a strategy of resistance.


Articles you don’t want to miss

 

So, I’m not totally down with annual “best of” lists. However, Zeba Blay put together a great one at HuffPo, The Most Important Writing From People Of Color In 2015.
The list is not radical, it is rather common sense stuff. It includes some articles I have posted here on 7Days Till Sunday, as well as a bunch of stuff I have been reading.
Do you have stuff that you think Ms. Blay missed? Add your reading recommendations in the comments below.

Something I’m thinking about: Water and colonialism

Yes, I admit, right now I am just thinking on this issue. To be honest, I am unsure of how to act. As many know, I think out loud, so I am sorta acting as I discuss these issues with folks around me.
Watch video
Watch video

In Detroit residents are living without running water! Please watch this first person account from Fayette Coleman. She talks about her water shutoff and how she collects rainwater for her daily use.

According to Detroit News, “She hasn’t had running water in her Brightmoor house since May 2013. The crumbling home is one of at least 4,000 in Detroit — and perhaps many more — whose water was never turned back on after massive shutoffs attracted international attention last year.”
Ashley L. Conti | BDN
Ashley L. Conti | BDN

In what is now known as Maine, The Penobscot people lost their fight for the rights to the water of the Penobscot River but maintained their fishing rights. A judge ruled that the Penobscot Indian reservation includes the islands on the main stem of the Penobscot River but not the water itself. This ruling appears to be both positive and negative.

The ruling is a victory for the fishing rights but the river is more than fishing. The river is part of the Penobscot people themselves. We must continue to stand with tribes across this land for their rights to land, air, and water.

 

12/20/15

12/20/15

This week, things on my mind include:

Islamophobia, Cats/Humans, Ayn Rand, Pizza Hut, Winter Reading lists and Colbert/Rollins


Islamophobia:

As-salamu alaykum.

CREDIT: SHUTTERSTOCK
CREDIT: SHUTTERSTOCK

This week the Washington Post reported that the Augusta County School District, serving over 10,000 students, closed down cause some parents got mad that students were encouraged to try their hand at writing arabic and given the opportunity to try on hijab as part of world religions work.

Larycia Hawkins, a professor at Wheaton College, was put on leave because she said that muslims were her brothers and sisters and wore a hijab.

And in other hysteria news, some parents in the Anoka-Hennepin School District got pissed that a choir teacher chose to add a song about Ramadan, in Arabic, as part of the holiday concert.

According to CBS Minnesota:

One person posted, “No child should be forced to sing a song about the Muslims and the religion of hatred.”

Another parent, who didn’t want to be identified, told WCCO phone that considering the recent events in Paris and San Bernardino, singing a song about Allah would be “insensitive.”

Islamophobia is wrong!  

Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, etc all teach love. WTF is wrong with people? If we hate on others then hatred wins. I challenge everyone right now to figure out how you will act to support Muslims. How will you stand against Islamophobia? Larycia Hawkins, that Wheaton professor set a great example for all of us on what an ally looks like. How will you be an ally?

If you need more help understanding the impact of Islamophobia watch this short video from Isra Mohammed, 15.

In her speech, she explained: “I have a seven-year-old sister who came home from school crying, when I asked why she said people in school were blaming her for the Paris attacks, she said that she didn’t want to go back.

“I have a brother in year seven, he got bullied as people were telling him your religion is killing people.”

She also explained how so-called Islamic State wanted to cause unrest between Muslims and the West, and that by sharing hatred towards others on social media, Islamophobes were helping the terrorists.

Telegraph


Are you a Cat?

Thats it, I’m clearly a non-moody cat.
I❤ Cats has a fabulous list to determine if you are more feline than human.
I am! Are you?

Happy Holidays from Ayn Rand

The queen of capitalism and selfishness disgusts me. These 21 holiday cards crack me up!
ayn_rand_17_zpsa6b60e49

Used to Be a Pizza Hut

If you grew up in the US in the ’80s and ’90s you knew a pizza hut not just by the smell of the damp carpet and rotting cheese inside but by the shape of the building. There were exceptions to the rule but there was a specific shape that most Pizza Hut’s had.

Now there is a website to map former Pizza Huts and to discover what they have become in the changing suburban landscape. Used to Be a Pizza Hut is a trove of failing capitalism imagery.

These beautiful structures, most likely now devoid of the table-top Pac Man machines, dot the American landscape. Some provide ethnic food, some, used cars, and a rare few are now municipal buildings. Whatever their current purpose, we can always be reminded of the mediocre pizza that was once served in these establishments.

Liquor Hut (from Used to be a Pizza Hut)
Liquor Hut (from Used to be a Pizza Hut)

Holiday Reading List(s)

Photo from Rosette Royale taken at Powells Bookstore

Need something to read this winter? Here are 2 different reading lists to keep you busy.

1) Left Bank Books crowd sourced the Black Lives Matter Reading list. The list includes books for kids, books about the civil rights movement, memoirs, and books about policing and incarceration.
2) And, here is a stack of books I just bought for work. All of these books can be found at AK Press.
The theme is mostly “organizing”:

Finally… Merry Christmas

Many people know that I am not a big fan of christmas music. When I do listen to CM I have a hard “Day AFTER Thanksgiving” till “New Years Day” rule. Here is a song I can actually dig.
For all who celebrate christmas, Merry Christmas!